Quick look — SFUSD OER Curriculum

(I’m posting this on Christmas day but I’d started it earlier!)

Recently San Francisco Unified announced their elementary OER curriculum was ready to be released to the world. As someone who has worked in the math OER space for a number of years, this was very exciting news indeed! Not only did they use the ‘correct’ license (CC BY), but the content itself looked amazing. This is not just a list of curricular tasks and outcomes. This is parent letters, video introductions, technology tasks that are

5.5 Milestone task

integrated with the core curriculum yet separate if needed. Google Drive folders chock full of everything a teacher needs to get going with standards-based rubrics, low-floor high ceiling tasks throughout and practice worksheets too for measuring mastery.

I took a look at quite a bit of the kindergarten and fifth grade tasks for comparison. The kindergarten because I’m least familiar with those kinds of tasks and because I have a preschooler so am always on the lookout for things to help get her ready for kindergarten. The Pre-K/TK curriculum is slated for release in 2019 so you can be sure I’ll be over that! The fifth grade because I’m quite familiar with those standards from my work at OpenEd.

Kindergarten

Unit K.3

I love from the get-go a growth based mindset is embedded throughout these lessons. The material is constantly referencing prior knowledge that will be helpful as well as what the current work is working towards. In this particular unit, unit frames are used for counting, sentence frames are used to guide student talk, and each lesson has a Universal Support area that can help ensure all students have access to the learning. The focus is clearly on student discovery and not a lecture format, with strong assessment-based supports based on conversation. For a district that has a high ELL population, I personally applaud these decisions.

Grade 5

First, take a look at the milestone task for Unit 5.5 here. Just like a ‘classic’ three-act task, it first asks students to estimate — making the solution accessible to all students. The Bay-area transplant in me also loved seeing Steph Curry mentioned.

One of the “thoroughly meets standards” rubric boxes addresses which questions and standards it addresses with this text:

Correctly calculates the product and quotient and shows thinking in two ways, e.g., by using models or drawings and strategies based on place value.

When I was teaching, getting students to find the same answer multiple ways was often very frustrating for them at the start of the CCSS implementation — but more often than not students then enjoyed it as a way to demonstrate their understanding because they realized they remembered it better that way.

Commentary

I honestly don’t see anything. All of the tasks I looked at seemed to address the standards adequately, or if it didn’t — as in the example task — there was a comment when that skill would be addressed.

I would love to visit SFUSD to see how teachers are rolling this out… is there a mad dash to the copy machines, or are students consuming at least some of the content digitally? I would love to see more data on connectivity in SFUSD schools and how/if that affects equity. I was pleased to see some interactive lessons from Desmos and other interactive websites such as Conceptua Math and xpmath. I didn’t see anything from Geogebra but again, didn’t do a full scour of resources. I don’t know about the licenses of all of that digital content, but making sure they are compatible with CC BY is something those redistributing might consider checking — however the links I saw in the regular lessons were CC BY, so perhaps those in ‘technology resources’ were considered additional/non-essential.

I found it interesting that google drive was used as the method of delivery. This was probably due to the ease of distribution, and LMS-based courses would take considerably more time to create and manage. Still, the content was organized, consistent and easy to consume. I loved the parent resources, technology resources fact sheet, and overview of each unit. Great job SFUSD, looking forward to seeing more of this!